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Lonsdale73

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What wood would you recommend for a first-time turner? Something that's easy )ish) to work with and relatively inexpensive so it's not so heartbreaking when it's reduced to dust and kindling?
 

marcros

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Firewood. Although that gives you some challenges of out of balance blanks and mounting on to chucks.

I think that the native blanks from Stiles and bates are good value, are dry and worth a look. I also like home of wood.
 

Phil Pascoe

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As said - firewood. Plus bits of half decent softwood. Just be aware that often these are more difficult to turn than nice purpose cut blanks and that tears, rough finishes and disasters are not necessarily the result or fault of your inexperience. If you can get a decent finish on a bit of B&Q whitewood you'll probably get a decent finish on anything.
 

Lonsdale73

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Thanks chaps. I watched a chap turn a piece of pine and it was awful. He wasn't even sure of the origin but that didn't matter, the idea was to demonstrate 'riding the bevel' so he grabbed first bit of timber that came to hand. Last night I went to a woodturner's club with a piece of Walnut that was defying the best efforts the sharpest of minds and tools. Until someone noticed the lathe was running in reverse.

I don't have a chuck yet so will be getting some practice in with spindles first. I'll probably start with the pine offcuts I have knocking about as the emphasis will be on tool handling rather tha finish quality and then when I'm reasonably confident with technique then I can risk nicer wood. I did think of ash since that's what I believe pool and snooker cues are made from.
 

ScaredyCat

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Perhaps we can offer each other a few words of encouragement as we both start this, my lathe was delivered today, although the tools were not :( so no playtime for me. I don't think my lathe is as posh as yours though. No chuck here yet either.

I did also buy some blanks from "englishwoods on ebay" - it worked out at £4 a blank - one of their Christmas boxes. They have a range and you can buy some individual blanks too.

Quick edit: I'm watching:

Andy Phillip
The Welsh Woodman
Andy's Cornish Creations
PF Woodturning

on youtube atm - might be useful, might not. I watch Andy Phillip for inspriation but he doesn't do any voiceover or explaination - which is a shame. The others explain what they are doing and why. The Welsh Woodman has a nice sharpening video or two.

Andy's Cornish Creations has some great sheep to make too.
 

Mdhazell

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Mike Waldt is also very good and has some good tutorial videos.
 

ScaredyCat

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Also, if there's a wickes near you, bags of kiln dried "Homefire" hardwood logs are £6.50 each (3 for £15) code 121143 - try to get some from inside the store rather than those that they leave outside in the big baskets. Roughly 10-12 logs per bag depending on log size.



.
 

Lonsdale73

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ScaredyCat":2rnxfiz4 said:
Perhaps we can offer each other a few words of encouragement as we both start this, my lathe was delivered today, although the tools were not :( so no playtime for me. I don't think my lathe is as posh as yours though. No chuck here yet either.

I did also buy some blanks from "englishwoods on ebay" - it worked out at £4 a blank - one of their Christmas boxes. They have a range and you can buy some individual blanks too.

Quick edit: I'm watching:

Andy Phillip
The Welsh Woodman
Andy's Cornish Creations
PF Woodturning

on youtube atm - might be useful, might not. I watch Andy Phillip for inspriation but he doesn't do any voiceover or explaination - which is a shame. The others explain what they are doing and why. The Welsh Woodman has a nice sharpening video or two.

Andy's Cornish Creations has some great sheep to make too.
I picked up a Record Power DML250 to test the water; not sure that counts as posh. I've picked up some gouges too which someone very kindly sharpened for me. Other than assemblw the lathe I've not done anything with it yet, wanted to get at least one hands-on under expert supervision first. Not sure the guy the placed me with met that requirement, he said he hadn't been turning long himself and I think the pressure of being landed with a complete novice completely unnerved him. We ran into problems and developed quite an audience who wondered what on earth was going on. More experienced heads got involved and one eventually identified the problem and remedied it so I didn't get quite the experience I'd hoped for. Enough though to give me confidence to start with some basics.

I've been watching this guy; he's not got much of a headstart on us but is one of these annoying types who can turn their hand to anything. Well, would be annoying if he wasn't so disarmingly charming and unassuming. And this lady I found via another turner I was watching.
 

ScaredyCat

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Lonsdale73":2re56mtf said:
I picked up a Record Power DML250 to test the water; not sure that counts as posh.
Record power though, mine's a lowly axminster. I did look at the model that looks remarkably like the one you have, but they went out of stock as I attempted to place the order. Went for the next one up. Just means I can't get the chuck this month - the price difference would have covered it :(

Lonsdale73":2re56mtf said:
I've picked up some gouges too which someone very kindly sharpened for me. Other than assemblw the lathe I've not done anything with it yet
I've only got a couple of carbide tools. No grinder yet so holding off on the 'normal' tools until I get one. I've looked at the pulleys in the lathe, I guess I needed to go one more price bracket up to get metal ones vs the rubbery ones I have. I had to fit the indexing stop - but first had to remove the blanking plug covering the hole - 2 different nut sizes, none of which matched any of the spanners provided.

Lonsdale73":2re56mtf said:
We ran into problems and developed quite an audience who wondered what on earth was going on. More experienced heads got involved and one eventually identified the problem and remedied it so I didn't get quite the experience I'd hoped for. Enough though to give me confidence to start with some basics.
At least you both now know what running the lathe backwards does, if you ever see of experience it, you'll be able to say "Ahh, I know what's going on here".

Lonsdale73":2re56mtf said:
I've been watching this guy
Yes, been watching him too. :D

Lonsdale73":2re56mtf said:
And this lady I found via another turner I was watching.
Yeah, I think she's well known and sometimes comes to the UK and does presentations. seems very experienced given the size of some of the stuff she works on.

My bowl blanks arrived this morning, will pop into the shed tonight for a play... possibly.

.
 

Lonsdale73

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I'd been dithering between RP and Axi too. Like you say, specs seem almost identical. The one(s) I fancied were the DML320 and the Axi equivalent. Well, ones I could a) afford and b) fit in to an already packed single gargae workshop! Somone I'd been talking to about lathe selection 'upgraded' to the Axi and sent it back after a day and then I got offered the DML250 at a silly price - ot quite as silly as John McGrath got his DML320 for but good enough to test the water with. If I decide it's not for me or I get really into it then I'll either get most of my money back or not have lost too much on it. Having had the opportunity to try the DML320 I think an upgrade is the likelier option.
 

Lonsdale73

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Found this chap and his 'Beginner's' tutorials. So far the clearest explanation and demonstration of riding/rubbing the bevel I've heard.
 

Maca

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What I did when I started was cut my own blanks but without a big enough band saw I was cutting blanks with the chainsaw. I would not recommend this unless you get pretty accurate with the chainsaw. I had the lathe bouncing around, voids where I was cutting air and various knots and things which made life hard.

While this isn't a problem once you get more experience and learn how to deal with it I think this is a hard way to start. So I would advise getting your blanks as round as possible and with some nice fruit wood with nice grain to make life easier.

Either that or buy a few blanks (not something I've done) but I can see that would be a good way to build your confidence. Try riding the bevel on a natural edge winged bowl then try with a nice smooth balanced blank. There is a big difference.
 

lurker

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Within a year you will experience the problem most turners have.
So much suitable wood you need to build storage for it all :D
 
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